Tag Archives: story

Can’t sleep-creative insomnia

Now on Amazon

2:45 am Tuesday and I’m wide awake. A storm is heading my way promising 18 inches of snow. Everyone in the house is sleeping and my brain is on overdrive, no I haven’t had any coffee…yet. I think the few brain cells I have left would melt if I did.

My current book Tombyards & Butterflies is doing  fantastic in its first week of release, but that’s not what’s keeping me up. The second book is nagging the hell out of me. If you are creative you know exactly what I’m talking about. The idea that wont be quiet. The plot point that just wont stop. The character that whispers into your ears when you are driving, showering, doing the dishes or any other activity where a pen and paper( or phone) is out of reach, forcing you to stop and hurriedly get that idea down. And you do, because like a wisp of smoke, if you dont it vanishes and taunts you, remaining just at the fringe of conscious thought.

So I’m up and I haven’t blogged in a while because this latest book has demanded I write-hard and fast. It pushes me to write to the exclusion of everything else and so the blog, like a secret mistress, gets my visits in the dead of night when I can’t sleep. But the story,implacable, unrelenting, is there looking over my shoulder, pacing and tapping it’s foot. It gives me the stink eye and then floods my brain with ideas as if to say,”try writing that post now.”

I manage because I enjoy my blog and writing. My brain is always writing, always dealing with the alchemy of words, spoken and written. A part of me seriously believes that all creatives are slightly mad and unhinged-it’s what drives us and fuels our creative expressions. I can only speak to my experience. Writing a book is mad work. You sit down and have a conversation with the voices-in your head. You weave a story around that conversation and then invite others to jump into a world with you. Sure… totally sane.

Taking a blank page, canvas, or pick your medium, and transforming it into a book, a painting, a piece of music, a piece of you, is the ultimate form of creation. To bring forth something from nothing is the both the most empowering and frightening thing you can do and you must do it. To refuse the impulse is  an act of abnegation and the fastest way to insanity.

In an effort to stave off my impending madness I am going to go wrestle with a story that just wont quit. I’ll see you on the other side.

Story by McKee How Screenwriting can help you

Story by Robert McKee
Story by Robert McKee

I used to own this book as a paperback and it was a beast to carry around. I have a good friend Jean, who was just breaking into screen writing about the same time I started The Spiritual Warriors. I gave it to him as a gift thinking “Why would i need a book on screen writing when I’m going to write novels?” I have learned a bit since then.

Screenwriters hone their craft BEFORE they begin getting into their field. Unlike many of us  writers who  prefer to accumulate stacks of rejection letters as some kind of badge of honor. I never enjoyed rejection letters and I got a few before going the indie author/ authorpreneur route. I did however learn some things. I needed to get better- much better, I needed an editor and I needed to get serious about honing my skills and learning my craft before putting my books out there.

So here I am coming back full circle with this book almost four years and five books later. This time I picked it up as a kindle read (much easier to carry around). I have also learned to view film as condensed labs for my writing. Yes in some cases it has ruined movie viewing for me on so many levels. While others are just enjoying the film I’m thinking to myself “Is that the inciting incident?” “That was a great opening hook!” or “That could have been better used later in the story.” “That was definitely third act material, too early.”

The transformation of my movie going experience aside, reading about screenwriting has strengthened my writing and I recommend picking up this book or Syd Field’s Screenplay as a view into a different type of writing that can strengthen your novel writing.

However if there is only one book you can get on screenwriting and more importantly storytelling, since we are all at our cores storytellers- Get Robert McKee’s book, Story. You wont regret it.

Let me know what you think? Did you get it? Do you own it? What are your thoughts on this book? Do you have other suggestions besides this one? Drop me a line in the comments below! I enjoy hearing from you.blogdragonfly

John Wick-A Revenge Story

John Wick
John Wick

I’m not a big Keanu Reeves fan.

I enjoyed the Matrix movies and I have seen him in several movies.

I have always found him to have a very limited range of emotions when acting. The last movie I saw him in was 47 Ronin. I wont get into how disappointing that movie was, no I wont.

However this movie was a pleasant surprise.  Its a revenge story. An ex hit-man is brought out of retirement by a thug. And goes on a spree of mayhem and death.

Here is why this movie works: Reeves has a minimal amount of lines. The range of emotion is limited to angry, mildly angry, very angry, and cold and calculated, you guessed it- anger.  This is perfect for Reeves. The fight scenes in the movie are excellent and the whole movie is really an excuse to get from one fight scene to the next. I’m not bashing Reeves. I really think this movie was the perfect vehicle for him because the parameters set were narrow and when that is the case he excels.

If you’re looking for a plot. You wont find it in this movie. It is basically violence for the sake of violence. Very much the way no city survives a  Michael Bay film and everything is exploded within the first thirty minutes. Taken in this context John Wick is a good film. I enjoyed it for what it was.blogdragonfly

The Hellequin Chronicles -Must Read

crimes against magic cover
Crimes Against Magic Book 1

Book 1 in the Hellequin Chronicles.

How do you keep the people you care about safe from enemies you can’t remember?

Ten years ago, Nate Garrett awoke on a cold warehouse floor with no memory of his past—a gun, a sword, and a piece of paper with his name on it the only clues to his identity. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his magical abilities to become a successful thief for hire.

But those who stole his memories aren’t done with him yet: when they cause a job to go bad and threaten a sixteen-year-old girl, Nate swears to protect her. With his enemies closing in and everyone he cares about now a target for their wrath, he must choose between the comfortable life he’s built for himself and his elusive past.

As the barrier holding his memories captive begins to crumble, Nate moves between modern-day London and fifteenth-century France, forced to confront his forgotten life in the hope of stopping an enemy he can’t remember.

On occasion I come across a writer I want to share with everyone I know. Steve is one such writer.  His Hellequin Chronicles are an exciting read and well worth your time. He initially started as an indie and moved on to traditional. His stories are riveting and his main character is compelling. Can you tell I’m being deliberately cagey and vague? That’s because you need to go and buy this series. He is in book 4 and in the process of getting book 5 out, hopefully soon. You can find his amazon page here.

He also has fantastic covers. Being a graphic designer I cant help but appreciate a good cover and his have had and excellent evolution. Here is his latest :

Prison of Hope- Steve McHugh
Prison of Hope- Steve McHugh

Go visit his page and enjoy his books. You can thank me later!